purpose of this assignment is to help students develop skills in creating research questions and designing a study that can address an issue that is relevant to their degree subject. Students may use this proposal as a basis from which to further develop their dissertation project, but are not required to do so. 

You are required to construct a research proposal. Your research proposal should include the following sections: 

1. An Introduction, which will typically include: 
a. A clear statement of the general research topic and why it is of importance. 
b. Specific research question(s) to be addressed by the study. 
c. Literature-based definitions of key variables and terms. 

2. A Literature Review presenting a short summary of academic literature (and possibly also professional literature, depending upon the topic) that is relevant to the research questions posed in your introduction. This literature will typically present one or more theoretical perspectives on the issue, as well as summarise relevant previous research findings. For some kinds of studies, hypotheses may be introduced in the literature review section. IMPORTANT NOTE: At least some of the literature cited in the literature review must be from academic journals, and this must include some recent publications on the topic. 

3. A Methodology section that presents a detailed initial plan for a research method that can address the research question(s) developed in the literature review. This plan will typically include the following: 
a. A clear and appropriate structure to the methods section. 
b. A description of the persons, events, or objects to be sampled for research purposes, along with a rationale for choices. 
c. A description of measures and/or procedures to be followed, along with a rationale for choices. 
d. A description of how the information that is to be collected will be processed and/or analysed. 
e. An indication of how any ethical concerns will be addressed. 

4. A Reference list that includes the sources for all materials cited in the research proposal. This list must follow an accepted referencing style (i.e., Harvard or APA). 

Important points: 
-The research proposal should involve a topic that is relevant to the field of Finance in Management. 
To receive a good mark, your proposal must include all of the above elements in sufficient detail, and have a good presentation. 
-The proposal must not closely resemble a research plan or proposal that you have developed for another module.

Guidance: What Makes a Good Research Proposal? 
There are many ways to write a research proposal and we have no particular model in mind. The following are some of the points we are looking for: 
• You must have a problem which you can define, critically analyse, and for which you can devise research questions. This generally means a relatively narrowly defined problem. 
• You should explain the main issues in your chosen topic and their wider academic and practical relevance. 
• When reviewing the literature, you should be aware of, and communicate, an awareness of the quality of the evidence on which an author draws and of the methodological issues posed by the way in which that evidence has been gathered. You should give a sense of how the literature has developed and identify the main themes of schools of thought in the literature. Address how later articles and contributions in books build on the earlier results, findings and ideas in the literature. (Be sure that you include recent works on your topic.) 
• This means that you should be critical and evaluative. Do not simply list a set of definitions and/or results. Instead, explain why the authors have arrived at their conclusions. State whether you consider the authors have achieved their aims. Explain any weaknesses you feel there are in specific articles or books and, if possible, how those weaknesses could have been overcome. It is better to evaluate critically fewer references rather than cite many references with little critical appraisal. 
• Do not just state your choice of method, but explain why this is a good choice for your chosen research question. Give useful detail regarding the research you are going to conduct (Who are the participants? How will you analyse the data? Etc.) rather than just giving a general textbook description of a chosen method. 
• Observe the usual requirements for good presentation: be grammatical, use punctuation marks correctly, try to avoid jargon etc. You should use headings and sub-headings to organise your material. 
• The Harvard style, or equivalent, should be used for referencing. 

What you should NOT do (these reflect failings of past proposals) 
• Do not write an essay about a general topic. 
• Do not just describe the application of a particular management technique or method (e.g., TQM, a project management technique), you must analyse the underlying problem and critically evaluate the alternative ‘solutions’. 
• Do not write a literature review that is solely or largely dependent on popular management books or internet sites, rather than the academic literature. 
• Do not write a literature review in the form of an annotated bibliography or a simple list of studies and results. Instead, integrate across studies in your presentation of the literature. 
• Be very careful about overuse of quotations. A few, carefully selected quotes can add to the proposal, but too many may be a sign that you are not engaging deeply enough with the literature to put key ideas into your own words. 

Do not describe how you set about searching the literature or what you plan to read; we are interested knowing what you have discovered in the literature, not how you went about it. 
• Do not write a general essay on research methods. Instead, critically evaluate the small number of particular methods that would be appropriate for your research questions. 
• Do not include lots of incidental, trivial detail – leave the room instead for information that will allow an assessment of the likely quality of your results and how much confidence should be put into them. 

Overall word limit, 2500 words maximum. 
The word count should: 
• Include all the text, including title, preface, introduction, in-text citations, quotations, footnotes and any other item not specifically excluded below. 
• Exclude diagrams, tables (including tables/lists of contents and figures), equations, executive summary/abstract, acknowledgements, declaration, bibliography/list of references and appendices. However, it is not appropriate to use diagrams or tables merely as a way of circumventing the word limit. If a student uses a table or figure as a means of presenting his/her own words, then this is included in the word count. 

Examiners will stop reading once the word limit has been reached, and work beyond this point will not be assessed. Checks of word counts will be carried out on submitted work, including any assignments or dissertations/business projects that appear to be clearly over-length. Checks may take place manually and/or with the aid of the word count provided via an electronic submission. Where a student has intentionally misrepresented their word count, the School may treat this as an offence under Section IV of the General Regulations of the University. Extreme cases may be viewed as dishonest practice under Section IV, 5 (a) (x) of the General Regulations. 

Very occasionally it may be appropriate to present, in an appendix, material which does not properly belong in the main body of the assessment but which some students wish to provide for the sake of completeness. Any appendices will not have a role in the assessment – examiners are under no obligation to read appendices and they do not form part of the word count. Material that students wish to be assessed should always be included in the main body of the text.

 

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